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How the application process works for Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences


See how osteopathic medical schools adapt admission processes in response to COVID-19. Updates will be posted as more information becomes available. 

PNWU-COM accepts 135 students for each new class of osteopathic medical students which start in the fall. PNWU-COM uses a "rolling admissions" process.  Offers of admission are made following the first interview until the class is full. It is strongly recommended to apply early. Please review PNWU-COM's admission requirements.

The PNWU-COM Admissions Committee will consider applications from all qualified individuals; however, in order to meet the mission of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, preference is given to applicants from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and rural and/or medically underserved areas of the country.

The major criteria for rating applicants are academic excellence, commitment to osteopathic primary care, commitment to practice medicine in an underserved area, and personal characteristics.

Application Timeline


  • The primary application, AACOMAS, opens


  • PNWU-COM begins reviewing AACOMAS applications and emails invitations for applicants to begin the supplemental application
  • Submit required letters of recommendation through the AACOMAS evaluation process
  • Monitor your application status with AACOMAS and PNWU-COM


  • PNWU-COM begins emailing invitations to interview

October - April

  • Remote/virtual interviews begin and admission offers are made until the class is full

February 1

  • Last day to submit an AACOMAS application

March 1

  • Last day to submit a supplemental application and all required documents

Primary Application

The minimum age to matriculate at PNWU-COM is 18 years of age and the applicant must be a US Citizen or permanent resident. The application to PNWU-COM begins by submitting a primary application through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Services (AACOMAS). Applicants must designate PNWU-COM to receive the application. 

A verification of the information provided on the application will take place. This may take as much as 30 days or longer. PNWU-COM will receive the application only after the verification is complete by AACOMAS. Applicants should review the AACOMAS instructions and FAQ to assist them in submitting their application properly.

MCAT: Due to the COVID-19 impact on MCAT testing dates, PNWU-COM will process applications with a planned MCAT.

  • Once the MCAT exam is taken release the official score to AACOMAS
  • MCAT scores are valid for three years from the original test date. The test must be taken no later than January 31 of the year medical school starts (this has been adjusted to March 31 due to test date availability during the COVID-19 pandemic). 

Updates to your application should be made during the AACOMAS academic update periods. Dates are available on the AACOMAS website. PNWU admissions and the PNWU-COM admission committee will review applications in a holistic manner and consider the applicant's intellectual ability, scholastic achievement, commitment and suitability to succeed in the study of osteopathic medicine.

If you have any questions regarding your specific situation, we strongly encourage applicants to contact their pre-medical/pre-health advisor, or a PNWU admission counselor at or 509.249.7888. 

Supplemental Application

An email invitation to complete a supplemental (secondary) application will be sent to selected applicants after the primary application has been received and reviewed. Check your email junk folder to ensure emails from PNWU are being received.

The supplemental application essay is an opportunity to highlight specific or additional reasons you should be selected for an interview. A nonrefundable supplemental application fee of $85 is required at time of submission. The fee is paid online using a bank account, credit, or debit card.

  • Requests for a supplemental application fee waiver must be submitted to and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 
    • Applicant must meet the AACOMAS fee waiver eligibility.
    • Submit a written request for a supplemental application fee waiver.
  • Supplemental Application Instructions
    • Use a compatible web browser: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.
    • Turn off all pop-up blockers.
    • The supplemental essay prompt is at the top of the application.
    • At the bottom of the application use the Submit option once you are ready to pay the application fee and upload the supplemental essay.
    • The nonrefundable application fee must be submitted prior to uploading the essay. The prompt to upload the essay is after the application fee is paid. 
      • If you have been approved for a fee waiver, you will need to pay the fee first to submit your supplemental application. Once payment has been received the refund will be processed, usually complete within a two-week period.
    • If you are unable to upload your essay please email it to in pdf format.

Letters of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation is required from each of the following sources:

  • a physician (preferably a DO who is a member of the AOA) - this is now a recommendation instead of a requirement due to the impact of COVID-19 on the health care system 
  • a science faculty member who has graded the applicant's science coursework
  • a pre-medical source (a pre-medical adviser or committee)
    • Individuals serving in the military may use a supervisor, such as a commanding officer to meet the pre-medical source requirement.
    • If your college or university does not provide pre-medical adviser or committee letters, an additional science faculty or physician letter may be substituted.

PNWU-COM does not have a standardized recommendation form. All recommendations should be on official letter head, signed, and dated by the writer. Recommendations must be written within two years prior to your application.

Recommendations should be submitted using Evaluations in the AACOMAS application. PNWU-COM will accept up to three additional letters of recommendation from other sources such as employers, researchers, etc. These additional letters may not be used to substitute for the three required letters.


All applicants invited to interview with PNWU-COM will be required to complete the U.S. Professional Health Sciences online CASPer assessment, for the current admissions cycle, prior to their interview. 

The remote interview day is an opportunity for PNWU to get to know applicants and for applicants to get to know PNWU. Opportunities to communicate directly with faculty, staff, and current students will be provided. The dress for the day is professional. 

  • A live introduction and prerecorded informational session
  • Multiple mini interviews (MMI)
  • A virtual campus tour
  • A faculty, student, staff Q&A session
  • Links to the informational session, virtual tour, PNWU and Yakima videos will be provided to interviewing applicants


After the interview, the PNWU-COM Admissions Committee reviews the applicants’ file and makes recommendations to the dean. Applicants are notified via email and the Self-Service portal is updated as soon as a final admissions decision has been made.

A nonrefundable acceptance fee of $1,000 is required from accepted applicants. PNWU-COM follows the AACOM traffic guidelines.

Acceptance is conditional until all required documentation is received and completed to PNWU’s satisfaction. 

PNWU-COM does not usually defer admission. Requests submitted to will be reviewed by the PNWU-COM Admission Committee and a recommendation made to the dean.

Note: Intentional misrepresentation or omission of information relative to scholastic records, test records, background reports, etc. will subject the applicant or student to dismissal.